Edmonton Oilers v Dallas Stars - Game One

DALLAS, TX – Captain Connor McDavid scored the game-winning goal 32 seconds into double overtime on Thursday night at American Airlines Center to give the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final.

"Ultimately, you've got to win tight games," McDavid said. "We're down to the final four teams, and you don't get to the final without being a great team. So all four teams are solid. Dallas is a great team. It's going to be tight and we're comfortable in these games. We're comfortable in this environment and I thought we did a great job."

McDavid had a glorious opportunity to end it with almost five minutes left in the first overtime that was denied by the outstretched paddle of Jake Oettinger after the Blue & Orange were left to kill off the captain's double minor for high-sticking against Matt Duchene just 17 seconds into the extra period.

Edmonton's penalty kill came up with the vital stop to improve to 5-for-5 in Game 1 before McDavid made up for his error by redirecting Evan Bouchard's feed from along the half-boards inside the far post just over half a minute into double overtime to seal the 3-2 victory and a 1-0 series lead for the Blue & Orange over the Stars.

The PK for Edmonton has now killed off 18 straight penalties, along with six consecutive double minors dating back to the regular season.

"Special teams are obviously huge this time of year, and it's something that a lot of us take pride in," said Derek Ryan. "It's huge. I think we've done a great job. Our work ethic has gone up. Our structure and detail have gone up, and they have to this time of year. Usually, your best penalty killer is your goaltender, and I think Stu's done a great job of that with the guys up front. They've done a good job as well."

McDavid's double OT winner gives Edmonton a 1-0 series lead

Stuart Skinner was critical to Edmonton's success in Game 1 on Thursday after making several key saves en route to stopping 31 of 33 shots in the victory, extending his solid streak of results since the start of Game 6 of the Second Round against Vancouver to 3-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.

"I thought Stu was solid. He made some key saves throughout the night. He looked confident," Head Coach Kris Knoblauch said. "I think he gets very high grades for his game tonight."

In addition to nabbing the game-winner, McDavid notched his 20th assist of the postseason on Hyman's league-leading 12th goal of the playoffs in the second period after Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring less than four minutes earlier on his ninth of the postseason that came just 58 seconds into the frame.

Tyler Seguin scored twice for Dallas – including the tying goal with 3:23 left in regulation – as the Stars benefitted from some puck luck to score their goals on Thursday despite registering 33 shots in the defeat.

Game 2 of the Western Conference Final will go down Saturday back at American Airlines Center in Dallas, with puck drop slated for 6:00 pm MT.

Paige & Jack discuss Thursday's 2OT win for the Oilers in Game 1


Let the Western Conference Final begin.

The Oilers and Stars are meeting for the first time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2003 after having seen each other eight times beforehand during the postseason, including six encounters between 1997 and 2003 where Dallas grew their playoff record against Edmonton to 6-2 all-time.

During the regular season, the Stars won two of their three meetings with the Oilers, with Evan Bouchard scoring the overtime winner in their only win over Dallas in mid-February – a 4-3 at American Airlines Center – as both teams went on to assemble the best records in the NHL after Jan. 1.

"They're obviously a really good team. They've shown it throughout the whole regular season and the playoffs," defenceman Mattias Ekholm said. "They've knocked out two really quality opponents, but so have we and I thought we matched up well with them. I thought we played really well.

"I thought that at times they had the upper hand, and at other times, we had the upper hand. That's the way it's supposed to be in the playoffs. So we know they're a good team. We know it's going to be a grind against them. They're really good defensively, but again, I liked the way we played. I thought we had our looks."

Paige & Jack discuss Thursday's 2OT win for the Oilers in Game 1

The Oilers were given an early confidence boost from Skinner when the netminder was drawn into making a big double stop in the game's first two minutes.

Skinner came up with the point-blank stop on Evgenii Dadonov cherry-picking for a breakaway after the puck beat Brett Kulak at the blueline to create the chance for the Russian before Jamie Benn had his follow-up attempt stopped on the rebound by the netminder to keep it scoreless early.

"Obviously, it's nice being able to stop a breakaway on the first shot and the rebound being able to kind of shrug it off with the shoulder. It was really good just being able to feel the puck kind of right away," Skinner said. "It's a moment where momentum can go either way if he scores, and I'm really happy it didn't work out that way. I'm happy that I was able to make the save. He made a really nice move, made a really nice shot and I was able to get a good piece of it and just battled from there.

"I think that was kind of my game all around. I just competed and worked really hard."

Edmonton's penalty kill was the next to earn a valuable stop by holding the Stars to only one shot on their first of two power plays in the first period, with the Oilers killing off the final 28 seconds of their second minor penalty that carried into the second to make it 16 straight kills for their shorthanded unit.

Hyman got Edmonton's best chance in the opening 14 minutes by chipping a puck past the Dallas defender to start an odd-man rush where he stopped in the right circle and delivered a pass to the slot for McDavid, but the captain had his effort stopped by the blocker of Oettinger.

Four minutes later, Foegele fought hard at the blueline to win a battle and push the puck past the Dallas defender for a breakaway, but the forward couldn't keep hold of his chance after it rolled off his stick when he tried to move it to his backhand and put it over Oettinger's right pad.

Skinner stood up Tyler Seguin on his open look in the right circle that came 23 seconds before the intermission to keep it scoreless through 20 minutes.

"Truthfully, I thought we played really well all game and generated chances," McDavid said. "We defended well and thought we did a lot of good things. Just solid. Stu made some great saves. I think about the breakaway early in the game, the penalty kill there in overtime, and he made some huge saves throughout So, super solid. It was everything that we needed."

Mattias speaks to the media following Thursday's OT victory


Edmonton ran out the remaining 28 seconds on Dylan Holloway's holding penalty from the first period before Dallas found themselves picking the puck out of their own net before the opening minute of the middle frame was finished.

The Oilers loaded Draisaitl and McDavid together after the penalty expired and had the Stars hemmed in when the puck popped out to Brett Kulak for a chance on goal from the top of the circles. Esa Lindell blocked Kulak's shot, leading to the puck falling right to Draisaitl in the right circle for the German to drop to one knee and deliver over the left pad of Jake Oettinger for the opening goal of Game 1 just 58 seconds into the frame.

Draisaitl opens the scoring in the Western Conference Final

Draisaitl's ninth goal extended his point streak to 13 games (9G, 16A) to begin the playoffs, joining Bryan Trottier, Bobby Orr, Mark Messier and Nathan MacKinnon) as one of only five players in NHL history to start a postseason with a point in 13 straight games. The goal was the 40th post-season tally of his career, making him the seventh player ever to reach that mark in 62 or fewer post-season games.

Edmonton doubled their lead less than four minutes later when Hyman showed dogged determination to win the puck back from a failed odd-man rush with McDavid, with the League's leading playoff goalscorer earning himself an unassisted marker for his 12th of the postseason and a 2-0 Oilers lead less than five minutes into the middle frame.

Skinner made a terrific save on Lindell from between the circles before the Oilers were sprung on an odd-man rush that the stick of Chris Tanev would break up, but Hyman wouldn't take no for an answer, getting the puck back on his stick before he outmuscled their top defensive pairing singlehandedly and forced a backhand through Oettinger's five-hole.

With an assist as well on Edmonton's first goal, Hyman now has four multi-point games in the 2024 playoffs and 13 over his career.

Hyman battles his way to his NHL-leading 12th of the playoffs

But Dallas answered back only 1:54 later when Kulak fanned on an attempted breakout pass to produce a one-on-one for Benn against Skinner. After the Stars' captain rounded the Oilers' netminder, the puck was backhanded into the crease where Seguin found the puck first while jostling with Kulak and pushed it over the line to get Dallas on the board with over 13 minutes to go in the middle frame.

Before the 11-minute mark, Edmonton would come inches away from finding that all-important third goal when Bouchard intercepted an attempted clearance in the Dallas zone and set up Mattias Ekholm for a one0-timer to strike the crossbar, keeping the Blue & Orange's margin at a slim one-goal lead.

The Oilers penalty kill made it 17 straight kills by stopping the Stars for the third time on Bouchard's slashing penalty against Sam Steel near the midway mark of the period, while Edmonton's only power play on a too-many-men call in the final two minutes didn't produce many good offensive opportunities.

The Oilers led 2-1 through 40 minutes after scoring twice and outshooting the Stars 14-10 in the middle frame.

Watch the recap of the Oilers double OT win in Game 1 vs. Dallas


The Oilers couldn't find their third goal before the Stars tied things up with 3:23 on the clock in regulation off an unfortunate bounce that fell onto the stick of Seguin to score his second goal of Game 1.

Forward Jason Robertson turned and fired a low shot toward goal from the right face-off dot that struck the skate of Darnell Nurse before it popped out to Seguin at the back post for an easy finish that made it 2-2 with less than four minutes to go.

Right off the ensuing faceoff, a flipped puck through the neutral zone bounced kindly for Holloway to get a breakaway and the chance to restore Edmonton's lead almost immediately, but the forward's fast move to his forehand was thwarted by the right skate of Oettinger, who made a massive save to prevent the Oilers from retaking their advantage before overtime.

"We've talked through the season about how mature and responsible they are; how they handle adversity," Knoblauch said. "No matter what happens, whether it's a bad call by the official, a bad break, bad play or whatever it is, we just move on and get ready for the next shift. That can be pretty tough. I thought we played a heck of a third period. I don't think we gave up very much. A little bit of a break, but they earned it. They worked for it.

"It's a little bit of a break off our skate that led to the goal. Those can be hard for a team. Those can be hard to regroup. But I didn't see any deflation from our guys. They just stuck with it."

Derek & Stuart talk to the media following Game 1 on Thursday


McDavid played a part in almost every major development that transpired over the 20:32 of sudden death in Game 1 which was played over two overtime periods, with the Oilers captain experiencing nearly every emotion imaginable on his way to scoring the game-winner 32 seconds into double overtime.

It wasn't even five seconds off the opening faceoff when McDavid got his stick up into the face of Matt Duchene for a double-minor for high-sticking. Despite not being originally called by the officials, the linesman would convince his counterparts to call the Oilers captain for a four-minute penalty and a chance for Dallas to end Game 1 with an extended power play.

"Long. Really long. Really, really long. Miserable," said McDavid describing his time in the penalty box. "I hated every second of it, but the guys did an amazing job. The penalty kill has just been amazing, and to step in there for four minutes against good power play, I can't give those guys enough credit."

"I was holding my breath for more than the penalty kill. They adjusted their power play," Knoblauch said. "They had some different looks we had to prepare for. They've got good players. They have good skilled guys who will get their opportunities, and when we did have a little bit of breakdown, Stu made some saves. The goalposts helped us obviously, but the best thing is not to take those penalties."

The Oilers penalty kill was up to the challenge just like they have been all playoffs, getting the stop to push their perfect streak to 18 straight kills and six consecutive double minors killed off dating back to the regular season. The extended kill wasn't without its close calls, though, after Robertson struck both posts for the Stars but couldn't find a way to beat Skinner.

"Our guys knew what had to be done," Knoblauch said. "It was almost like our penalty killers were excited to get out there, saying 'Alright, we've got a job to do and we're going to do it'."

Connor talks to the media after scoring the double OT winner

McDavid was central to the action once again as overtime approached its final quarter when he was unmarked in front and rounded Oettinger for a wide-open net, but the captain held onto the puck for half a second too long to allow Oettinger to come across with the paddle of his stick and make a miraculous save to the stunned belief of both McDavid and the Oilers bench.

"I just have to put it in the net. Simple as that," McDavid said of his chance. "It should have been in the net. I'm glad that we were able to get the win. Otherwise, I would've had a tough time sleeping, that's for sure."

Game 1 would go to double overtime, where McDavid needed only 32 seconds to make up for his earlier miss.

"We're not surprised in here. He's the best in the world," Ekholm said. "To see him get that one, he worked so hard for it and he had a good look in the first overtime too, but couldn't get it done.

"And from my experience here, he doesn't get denied twice."

The Oilers took the opening game of the Western Conference Final after Bouchard fired a pass to a wide-open McDavid in front from the half-boards that the captain calmly one-touched inside the far post beyond Oettinger to snatch the victory for the Oilers in Game 1 with a 3-2 victory.

The Oilers lead the Stars 1-0 in the Western Conference Final heading into Game 2 on Saturday night back in Dallas.

McDavid redirects Bouchard's pass for the double OT winner